The historical earthquakes of Syria: an analysis of large and moderate earthquakes from 1365 B.C. to 1900 A.D.

M. R. Sbeinati, R. Darawcheh, M. Mouty

Abstract


The historical sources of large and moderate earthquakes, earthquake catalogues and monographs exist in many
depositories in Syria and European centers. They have been studied, and the detailed review and analysis resulted
in a catalogue with 181 historical earthquakes from 1365 B.C. to 1900 A.D. Numerous original documents
in Arabic, Latin, Byzantine and Assyrian allowed us to identify seismic events not mentioned in previous works.
In particular, detailed descriptions of damage in Arabic sources provided quantitative information necessary to
re-evaluate past seismic events. These large earthquakes (I0>VIII) caused considerable damage in cities, towns
and villages located along the northern section of the Dead Sea fault system. Fewer large events also occurred
along the Palmyra, Ar-Rassafeh and the Euphrates faults in Eastern Syria. Descriptions in original sources document
foreshocks, aftershocks, fault ruptures, liquefaction, landslides, tsunamis, fires and other damages. We
present here an updated historical catalogue of 181 historical earthquakes distributed in 4 categories regarding
the originality and other considerations, we also present a table of the parametric catalogue of 36 historical earthquakes
(table I) and a table of the complete list of all historical earthquakes (181 events) with the affected locality
names and parameters of information quality and completeness (table II) using methods already applied
in other regions (Italy, England, Iran, Russia) with a completeness test using EMS-92. This test suggests that the
catalogue is relatively complete for magnitudes >6.5. This catalogue may contribute to a comprehensive and
unified parametric earthquake catalogue and to a realistic assessment of seismic hazards in Syria and surrounding
regions.

Keywords


historical earthquakes;historical sources;seismic hazards;Dead Sea fault system;Eastern Mediterranean;Lebanon

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3206
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X